The Shack: A god without authority

(This is part 2 in a 4-part series. See also part 1, part 3, and part 4.)

Many Christians have praised The Shack as helping them understand God better, but they need to be warned that the god of The Shack is a false god.

From the moment that Mack first reads the note from Papa, we get an inkling that the god of The Shack is different in no small way from the Living God, the God of the Bible. The goddess of The Shack gives suggestions, not commands:

“I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together.” (p.16)

Let’s examine what The Shack teaches about God’s authority and see how far The Shack is from bringing us to a better understanding of God — or rather, how far from the true and Living God the god The Shack brings us closer to is.

Contents

1. God the Father
1.1. A toothless old woman
1.2. Do not go near the mountain
1.2.1. That was the Old Testament, flag on the play
1.3. Assyria, the rod of My anger
2. God the Son
2.1. A king without balls
2.2. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware
2.2.1. A horror to us, a comfort to the apostles
2.3. The Man from Bozrah
2.4. The pursuing Husband
3. Authority within the Godhead
3.1. Chain of command? That sounds ghastly! J said
3.2. Jesus the obedient Son
3.3. The Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son

1. God the Father

1.1. A toothless old woman

The goddess of The Shack doesn’t try to make you do anything. She simply suggests a name that suits her personal preference, and you can call her that if you want to:

“Okay, we know who you are, but we should probably introduce ourselves to you. I,” she waved her hands with a flourish, “am the housekeeper and cook. You may call me Elousia.”
“Elousia?” asked Mack, not comprehending at all.
“Okay, you don’t have to call me Elousia; it is just a name I am rather fond of and has particular meaning to me.” (86)

She isn’t all pushy and authoritarian like God:

Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘ I AM has sent me to you.'” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.
– Exodus 3:13-15 NASB

1.2. Do not go near the mountain

The goddess of The Shack is so approachable:

Papa: Come and talk to me while I get supper on. Or if you don’t want to do that, you can do whatever you want. (88)

Much to be preferred to the One who tells the people to stay back so they won’t be destroyed:

The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. ‘No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”
– Exodus 19:9-15

1.2.1. That was the Old Testament, flag on the play

Here someone objects: “That was the Old Testament! Because of Jesus, God is approachable now.”

Thank God, we who are in Christ have the spirit of sonship by which we cry, “Abba, Father”. We no longer have the servile fear mixed with hate that we had when we were children of darkness. But it is not that God is now our pal, our equal. We love Him and worship Him with reverence and awe, with holy fear. Indeed, the author of Hebrews argues from the lesser to the greater that we should take more warning now than they did in our Exodus 19 passage, because they only came to a mountain that could be touched, but we come to Mount Zion…

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
– Hebrews 12:14-29

Not, “Our God was a consuming fire.” Not, “So never mind, Jesus loves you.” No:

Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

1.3. Assyria, the rod of My anger

One of the clearest places in Scripture that we see God exercise His Lordship over the sons of men is Isaiah 10, where we learn by the prophet that God sent Assyria to punish Israel, though Assyria had no such thoughts. Assyria thought it was by her own strength she had conquered Israel:

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
I send it against a godless nation
And commission it against the people of My fury
To capture booty and to seize plunder,
And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
Yet it does not so intend,
Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But rather it is its purpose to destroy
And to cut off many nations.
For it says, “Are not my princes all kings?
“Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
Or Samaria like Damascus?
“As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images
Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?”
So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem,
He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”
For he has said, “By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this,
For I have understanding;
And I removed the boundaries of the peoples
And plundered their treasures,
And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,
And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest,
And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth;
And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped.”
Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors;
And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame,
And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
– Isaiah 10:5-17

Truly, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” – Proverbs 21:1

So, does God say of Assyria, “I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything”? He certainly doesn’t force us to do things we don’t want to do. But did we think that “what we want to do” originates autonomously within us, independent of a sovereign God? No, even when the bloodthirsty wicked attack the people of God, it is only because God first sent them. Unbeknownst to them, they are but an axe in God’s hands, and it is He who chops with them.

The goddess of The Shack bears no resemblance to our sovereign God.

2. God the Son

2.1. A king without balls

Having rendered the Father as a feeble, toothless old woman, The Shack goes on to picture our Lord Christ as an impotent ruler, a king without balls.

Jesus the Christ commanded twelve men, “Follow me”, and they immediately left everything they had and followed Him. Another time,

Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” – Matthew 8:21-22

But the savior of The Shack only wants you to come if you want to come:

Papa: “Mackenzie, J* would like to take you for a walk, if you want to go.” (138)

(*In quotes from The Shack I have substituted ‘J’ for ‘Jesus’, because it is irreverent to the point of blasphemy to put such lies in the mouth of the Holy One of God.)

I mean, you know, if you aren’t busy or anything. Come now–or not, I’ll be here whenever you’re ready. “Time is on our side.”

The Lord Christ said:

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
– Matthew 10:37-39

But the savior of The Shack “would like to take you for a walk, if you want to go”.

The savior of The Shack “tries to help by giving a few suggestions”:

Mack: So now what am I supposed to do?
J: “You’re not supposed to do anything. You’re free to do whatever you like.” J paused and then continued, trying to help by giving Mack a few suggestions. “I am working on a wood project in the shed; Sarayu is in the garden; or you could go fishing, canoeing, or go in and talk to Papa.” (89)

Our God commands and instructs, He commends, He rebukes, He destroys, He builds up, He silences, He gives grace, He threatens, He serves, He becomes sin, He propitiates, He redeems, He accomplishes, He cuts off forever.

Everything His Son does, He does with authority, with finality, and to perfection. He never suggests. He certainly does not wait for us to take the initiative before He acts:

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain…”
– John 15:16

…but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
– Hebrews 10:12-14

Even His laying down His life for His bride is an authoritative act: it is not so she can do whatever she wants with Him, but to make her holy. And He will accomplish His will — we His bride will be holy. And we love this about Him. What an impotent eunuch this false god of The Shack, this false Jesus, is by comparison:

J: “Have you noticed that even though you call me Lord and King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you? I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself and others.” (145)

Jesus is a gentleman, right? He would never force His way in unless you asked.

Well, but what about the wicked? What is King Jesus’ way with them?

2.2. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware

Psalm 2 is pretty clear as to who’s in charge, what authority He has, and what good it will do to reject His Lordship:

Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion,
My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
– Psalm 2

Study questions:

  1. Does He who sits in the heavens ask if the kings of the earth mind if He laughs?
  2. Does the Lord scoff at them with their permission?
  3. Does he terrify with His fury only those who agree to be terrified by it, carefully avoiding those who refuse his offered terror?
  4. Does He ask if it’s ok with them if He installs His King upon Zion?
  5. Does God ask the nations whether or not they would prefer to be given as an inheritance?
  6. Will he wait to see if they’re willing for Him to break them with a rod of iron?
  7. Is a “Not now” enough to keep Him from shattering them like earthenware?

What is this puny, impotent idol, this god of The Shack? And how dare William Paul Young present this dung heap as the true and living God?

2.2.1. A horror to us, a comfort to the apostles

Again an objection comes up, “We don’t recognize the monstrous God of Psalm 2! The psalmist is not talking about the god I know!”

Indeed. It’s a horror to us and to our delicate modern sensibilities about what’s proper and appropriate for God to be and to do. We don’t need the Bible to know that God should above all be nice.

But look how far we are from the testimony of the apostles and saints of the first century church in this: When Peter and John were released from prison, it was with the words of this very psalm that they rejoiced over God’s mighty deliverance from evil men…

…they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’ For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”
– Acts 4:23-28

2.3. The Man from Bozrah

Then William Paul Young has his false Jesus talk like this:

“‘To force my will on you,’ J replied, ‘is exactly what love does not do. Genuine relationships are marked by submission even when your choices are not helpful or healthy. That’s the beauty you see in my relationship with Abba and Sarayu. We are indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be. Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.'” (145)

Let’s compare this sorry god who bows to and obeys and submits to his creation–where the Will of Man reigns supreme–to the Man from Bozrah…

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,

This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,

And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,

And I stained all My raiment.
“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.
“I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me.
“I trod down the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD,
According to all that the LORD has granted us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has granted them according to His compassion
And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.

For He said, “Surely, they are My people,
Sons who will not deal falsely.”
So He became their Savior.
– Isaiah 63:1-8

Say, whose blood is that on His garments? His own? No…

Is He smiling benignly on one and all? Is there any indication of a difference between how He treats His enemies and His people? Does He submit to His enemies’ decisions “even when their choices are not helpful or healthy”? In the violent destruction of His enemies and redemption of His people told of here, is His operating principle ‘not to force His will on us’?

This does not look like the pansy Jesus-girl with smooth skin and smooth hair and a sad look in his eyes as if he just wishes so bad that you’d accept him, passive, effeminate, whose picture we have on our wall! This is not the deferential king of The Shack.

So which will it be: our idol, or the Man from Bozrah?

2.4. The pursuing Husband

We could go on and point to the picture in Hosea of the pursuing Husband who will not take his faithless wife’s faithlessness as the final word. Are we such fools that we think it is the glory of God ‘not to force His will on us’ rather than that with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, He worked a mighty redemption and transferred us from death to life? Brothers and sisters, the glory of God is not what He didn’t do but what He did do, when we didn’t want it. Praise God that He didn’t listen to us when we hated him and told Him to go away! Praise God He pursued and persisted, and won us. That’s our Husband!

O brothers and sisters, let us sing and dance before our Savior, because He has poured out the lifeblood of His enemies and redeemed for Himself a people, by His great power and authority, because of His steadfast covenant love.

3. Authority within the Godhead

3.1. Chain of command? That sounds ghastly! J said

Typically, attacks on God’s created order start near the bottom with marriage or fatherhood and don’t deal with what the implications would be for God’s identity and character as our Husband and Father — for example, writers are typically much more willing to say that a husband is no lord than that Jesus is no Lord, even though that’s what the former implies. Here William Paul Young brazenly presses on, daring to freely contradict God’s own teaching regarding Himself…

“Well, I know that you are one and all, and that there are three of you. But you respond with such graciousness to each other. Isn’t one of you more the boss than the other two?”
The three looked at each other as if they had never thought of such a question.

“I mean,” Mack hurried on, “I have always thought of God the Father as sort of being the boss and J as the one following orders, you know, being obedient. I’m not sure how the Holy Spirit fits in exactly. He…I mean, she…uh…” Mack tried not to look at Sarayu as he stumbled for words. “…Whatever–the Spirit always seemed kind of a…uh…”
“A free Spirit?” offered Papa.
“Exactly–a free Spirit, but still under the direction of the Father. Does that make sense?”
J looked over at Papa, obviously trying with some difficulty to maintain the perception of a very serious exterior. “Does that make sense to you, Abba? Frankly, I haven’t a clue what this man is talking about.”
Papa scrunched her face up as if exerting great concentration. “Nope, I have been trying to make head or tail out of it, but sorry, he’s got me lost.”
“You know what I am talking about.” Mack was a little frustrated. “I am talking about who’s in charge. Don’t you have a chain of command?”
“Chain of command? That sounds ghastly!” J said.

(121-122)

Sarayu: “Mackenzie, we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command or ‘great chain of being’ as your ancestors termed it. What you’re seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best. Hierarchy would make no sense among us.” (122)

Sarayu: “You humans are so lost and damaged that to you it is almost incomprehensible that relationship could exist apart from hierarchy. So you think that God must relate inside a hierarchy like you do. But we do not.

J: “As the crowning glory of Creation, you were made in our image, unencumbered by structure and free to simply ‘be’ in relationship with me and one another. If you had truly learned to regard each other’s concerns as significant as your own, there would be no need for hierarchy.” (124)

J: “Genuine relationships are marked by submission even when your choices are not helpful or healthy. That’s the beauty you see in my relationship with Abba and Sarayu. We are indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be. Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.‘” (145)

So, does the Father “force His will” on the Son? Of course not. The Son obeys willingly.

But, “Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience”?
Or, “Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her”?
Or, “Chain of command? That sounds ghastly!”?
Or, “So you think that God must relate inside a hierarchy like you do. But we do not”?

Blasphemy.

Let us hold William Paul Young’s lies up to Scripture, and make some basic observations:

3.2. Jesus the obedient Son

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him…The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” – John 3:16-17, 35

The Father gave His Son. (They did not give each other.)

The Father sent His Son. (They did not send each other.)

The Father has given all things into the Son’s hand. (They have not given all things into each other’s hands.)


Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel…For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son…” – John 5:19-20, 22

The Son can do nothing of Himself, but only what He sees the Father doing. (Not, The Son and the Father can do nothing by themselves, but only what they see each other doing.)

The Father shows the Son all things that He Himself is doing. (Not, the Father and the Son show each other all things that they themselves are doing.)

The Father has given all judgment to the Son. (Not, the Father and the Son have given all judgment to each other.)


“But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish–the very works that I do–testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me…I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” – John 5:36, 43

The Father gave the Son works to accomplish. (The Father and the Son did not give each other works to accomplish.)

Jesus came in the Father’s name. (Jesus and the Father did not come in each other’s name.)


“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” – John 6:27

The Father has set His seal on the Son. (The Father and Son have not set their seals on each other.)


“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. – John 6:38

The Son came to do the will of the Father. (The Son and the Father didn’t come to do each other’s will.)


So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. – John 8:28

The Father taught the Son. (The Father and the Son didn’t teach each other.)


“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” – John 10:17-18

Jesus received a commandment from His Father. (Jesus and the Father didn’t receive commandments from each other.)


“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” – John 12:50

Jesus speaks just as the Father told Him. (Jesus and the Father didn’t speak as they told each other.)


“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. – John 14:28

The Father is greater than the Son. (The Father and the Son are not greater than each other.)


We’re not contending that the Father and the Son have nothing mutually. On the contrary, they’re one (John 10:30); they’re in each other (John 10:38); and they glorify each other (John 13:31-32; 17:1).

But at every turn there is beautiful hierarchy: God the Father’s authority, Jesus the Son’s obedient submission. Hierarchy, authority, power, obedience, submission, and chain of command within the Godhead.  And it is beautiful.

3.3. The Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son

What about the Holy Spirit?

In The Shack, if any one of the three persons of the Trinity has power or authority it’s the Holy Spirit:

J: “…Sarayu from whom all true power and authority originates.” (148)

But what do the Scriptures say?

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
– John 14:16-17, 26

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me…”
– John 15:26

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you… But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
– John 16:7, 13-15

The Holy Spirit has authority: He teaches, guides, and discloses the will of God to us — all authoritative actions. But at the same time, He is in subjection to the Father and the Son: He is sent by the Father and the Son, and He does not speak on His own initiative.

Having taught against all hierarchy, power, and authority in the Trinity, finally William Paul Young flips the hierarchy upside down, deciding that it would be better if the Holy Spirit were the head:

“…Sarayu from whom all true power and authority originates.” (148)

This is not to mention The Shack‘s rejection of God’s own names for Himself (naming is an act of authority). The only place in Scripture where someone invents a name for God is the slave woman, Hagar. Adam’s naming of the animals and the woman was an act of authority on his part. When we reverse this and name God according to how we like to think of Him, what do we say about who has the authority?

What a blasphemous mishmash. Who is it we’re drawing closer to, again?

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